Angel is a 14-year old boy from Oaxaca, Mexico. Approximately 3 years ago, his family moved to Ensenada, Baja California, hoping for a better life, work, and education opportunities. Angel is currently in the 8th grade and has aspirations to become an engineer, but has been forced to put those goals aside to help support his family. Angel is at an age in which school should be his first priority, but instead has to work to supplement his parents’ income in order to pay for his school expenses. Nonetheless, through small donations Angel will be able to pursue his dream and help his family live a better life.
Most families who immigrate from Oaxaca to Ensenada do so in an attempt to escape the extreme poverty they have endured back home. Unfortunately for most, life is not that much different after they move to Ensenada as 89.7% of them live below the poverty line. If jobs are presented to the families they are most likely in the form of agricultural work making a mere $7-$8 USD a day. This in turn forces many of the children to work to assist in supporting the family instead of attending school.
After building a home for Angel’s family with Baja Bound we found out that he could potentially obtain a scholarship through Baja Educational Initiative (BEI). BEI at the moment is sponsoring 58 students from elementary school through college. As of today, of the 58 students 6 are in college and 5 have graduated college. The 6 students in college will be graduating this year majoring in graphic design, criminal justice, physical therapy and law. The 5 who graduated majored in psychology, communications and school of medicine. Unfortunately, public schools in Mexico are not free like they are here in the United States. The cost per semester per student increases from elementary to middle to high school, and of course for college. Field workers make an average of $88 to $355 USD a month, and education costs across all levels have an average of $516 USD per child per semester. That is where BEI and People Thrust steps in to help Angel!
BEI helps make these children’s goals become achievable but they need your help.
The $3,000 USD includes registration fees, tuition fees, uniforms, transportation, school materials, books, and internet access. It also includes a small allowance given to the family to help cover some of the income Angel would bring to the family if he worked the fields. This helps keep the families engaged in the program while supporting their children to continue with school.
These children do not have parents who graduated from high school or even completed elementary school. However, Angel graduated 8th grade against all odds. With the help of financial support, they are given a chance to succeed and be the first in their families to graduate from high school and change the cycle within their families by opening their futures to an immense amount of opportunities beyond working in the fields for the rest of their lives. Your support means everything, donate now!
How many students is BEI sponsoring?
At the moment BEI is sponsoring 58 students and they are in Ensenada, San Quintin and Tecate area.
Is there a waiting list?
Yes, there are currently 45 students on the waiting list that have already qualified.
How many have graduated?
Five out of those 58 students graduated majoring in psychology, communications and school of medicine. Six will be graduating soon majoring in graphic design, criminal justice, physical therapy and law.
What happens when a child doesn’t have BEI or any type of financial help?
Commonly after finishing elementary school (once knowing how to read and write) boys and girls drop out of school. Girls generally engage in domestic chores within their own homes, and in the care of younger siblings. Sometimes girls move out after marrying and become pregnant by the age of 14. Boys generally go straight to working in the fields. As they become men, due to social and family pressures, they are forced to search for new economic opportunities and typically occupy the fields in positions such as packers or cutters with an average salary of $7-$8 USD per day. By not supporting children in their education, they are unable to break this cycle.
How does BEI accomplish it’s set goals?
Most of the students selected by BEI come from families who have received a house through Baja Bound, but is not necessarily exclusive to that. BEI carries out a socioeconomic study through a series of personal interviews, school and home visits. Once they are part of the program, a social worker checks in weekly with the students about their school grades, tutoring services, and school attendance. BEI also incorporates their families in important dates such as school presentations, public acknowledgements, school festivals and graduations in order to keep motivating the students.
What happens if a student stops attending school?
The scholarship would be offered to another member of the family or to any of the 45 students that are on the waiting list.
What are the plans for 2020?
BEI is in the process of finding a central space where students have access to computers, internet, printers and an uninterrupted work space to finish homework. Along with proper equipment to aid in school projects. All of this will be at no cost to the students.